TIS alumna Emily Varga has been crazy about animals her entire life and after graduating from TIS in 2017, she decided to turn her passion for all creatures big and small into a career as a veterinarian. She is currently in her fourth year of a six-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine Program at City University of Hong Kong. City U's partnership with Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in New York has meant that Emily and her classmates study the Cornell veterinary curriculum, one of the top programs for veterinary science in the world.

We caught up with Emily recently to find out more about her program and how her years at TIS helped to shape her as an individual.

What challenges/highlights have you experienced at university?
A very heavy course load is synonymous with a degree in veterinary medicine, so maintaining a balance between good grades, physical/mental health and a social life has definitely been the biggest challenge so far. Despite this, I've had so many positive experiences being a part of my program. With such a small class (twelve people), I've been able to get to know and learn so much from my incredible professors. I've had the opportunity to travel to Cornell University for six weeks to complete some of my required veterinary placements; I believe getting to witness veterinary practice in North America and Asia has given me an advantage and I can't wait to get into the practice myself!

Also, living in a large and diverse city such as Hong Kong has provided me with many great work/rotation opportunities, travel opportunities and great work-related and personal connections. 

How did TIS help to prepare you for university and life in general after high school?
TIS provided a very international learning environment, and this made the transition to an international university very simple. As well, some of my first year science and english courses were easier than the ones I took in high school - so doing well in those classes at TIS definitely helped me when I had to take them again at university!

What are your fondest memories of your years spent at TIS?
Sports trips and experience week trips were definitely the highlight of my time at TIS. Seeing friends everyday is another nice part of high school - unfortunately this changes when you get to uni!

What advice do you have for grade 12 students at TIS who will be starting their university career?
I have two pieces of advice for students starting their university careers. The first would be to do what you love - you'll struggle to wake up for classes or study for hours on end if it's a program you're not interested in. Secondly, be disciplined. Some classes will be completely unrelated to what you want to do in life, but always keep the end goal in sight. Never giving up is how you succeed! 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years time, I will have (finally) graduated and be 25. I see myself probably living somewhere with a little more green space and fresh air than Hong Kong has to offer, and possibly getting a Ph.D. or working towards a medical specialty. 

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